HKJC The Panasonic Cup (11/14, R8) Preview

They say pace makes the race and that's undoubtedly the case with this week's Panasonic Cup (1400m, Sha Tin) in which a slow tempo appears more likely than not without a regular leader in the field.

With the light weight and a wide draw, Dashing Fellow figures to take up the running, but he was urged to lead in his most recent outing, run at a slow tempo overall, so he won't by any means be winging it on the lead. Happy Yeah Yeah, a 1200m specialist who was pushed to lead in a dirt trial recently, will also likely head towards the lead. Others who could be expected to roll forward into pressing positions include Divine Calling and perhaps Super Lifeline, who was just off the pace in last season's very slowly run Prince Jewellery & Watch Premier Cup and gets Neil Callan aboard for the first time. The latter is a one-paced individual, however, so unless he's urged to lead, this race shape would be an unfavorable one with regards to his chance of winning. Of even greater concern for Divine Calling and Super Lifeline would be their weight carried, as they'll both be conceding weight to two up-and-coming runners in Blizzard and Sun Jewellery. 

Blizzard has thrived in slowly run affairs thus far in his Hong Kong career and although he's impressed visually, his furious closing runs out wide need to be viewed in this context. He improved for the step up in trip to 1400m, however, when beating highly regarded Thewizardofoz and he's drawn a much better gate than has been typical for him. He figures to get a nice tracking run on the forward end of midpack, but if they meddle out front, traffic could become an issue for a horse who takes a bit of winding up. 

Instead we'll turn our focus to Sun Jewellery who has done nothing wrong in three local starts and is drawn perfectly in barrier one. The progressive son of Snitzel has gate speed and was near the pace in his second start, which was run at a very solid tempo from the start. He has the potential to be either on the lead or more likely in the box seat just behind the front runners. He appears to be entering this -- his seasonal reappearance -- relatively fit in spite of a small setback which delayed his start to the season. Perhaps he'll be the one to avenge his stablemate's loss to Blizzard. 

Some added value may be found via Apollo's Choice, who enters this light in the weights and second-up after running well enough in his foray on the dirt over a much too short 1200m. He showed good enough early speed for a turf horse and despite losing momentum when short of room at the top of the straight, he ran on fine late. He probably needs to get back up to 1600m to find his best, but this looks a perfect storm of a race conditions-wise for him to make the frame. 

Picks and Fair Odds:
#5 Sun Jewellery (1.8) 
#9 Apollo's Choice (21.0)
#7 Blizzard (4.5)
#2 Super Lifeline (17.0) 

Suggested Play: 5-9 quinella and 7-9 quinella; 5,7,9 / 5,7,9 / 2,5,9,7 trifecta

Candice's spot plays for every Hong Kong race meeting can be found on the Horse Player NOW BUZZ

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